need to buy colombian pesos notes 50000 pile money

Colombian Currency Spotlight: Colombian Peso

In Business and Currency by Continental StaffLeave a Comment

Colombia has a rapidly growing tourist industry and a strong economy overall. Although there is some talk of replacing the current peso with a higher value alternative, it remains a distant proposition. So for now, if you want to visit Columbia you’ll need to buy Colombian pesos.

Fast Facts: 

  • Colombian Peso Symbol: $ (often abbreviated as COL$)
  • Colombian Currency Code: COP
  • Coins: 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 pesos
  • Colombian Peso Banknotes: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 pesos
  • Colombian GDP (nominal): $427.139 billion (29th)
  • Central Bank: Banco de la República


In 1810 the peso replaced the real at a rate of 1 peso to 8 real. In the mid 1800’s the currency was decimalised into 10 reals, later renamed decimos. Centavos were introduced in the late 19th century. In 1871 the gold standard was adopted by pegging the peso to the French franc at a rate of 1 peso to 5 francs, but this peg only lasted until the 1880s after which the peso was pegged to the British pound at a rate of 5 pesos to 1 pound. Inflation in 1888 caused Colombia’s paper money to depreciate and after a number of efforts, a new paper currency was introduced in 1915 – the peso oro. The peso oro replaced the old paper pesos at a rate of 100 pesos to 1 peso oro. In 1931, after Britain abandoned the gold standard, Colombia pegged its currency to the US dollar at a rate of 1.05 pesos to 1 dollar. After almost 80 years the ‘oro’ was dropped from the ‘peso oro’ and the currency was once again referred to simply as the peso. Since the turn of the millennium the Colombian government has considered introducing a new peso worth 1000 old pesos, but the plan has not been met with much enthusiasm

Notes and Coins

5 peso coins were introduced in 1980, and then the 10 and 20 peso coins in 1981 and 1982. A 50 peso coin was minted in 1986, 100 peso coin in 1992, 500 pesos in 1993, 200 pesos in 1994, and 1000 pesos in 1996. Counterfeiting soon forced the 1000 peso coin out of circulation but it was reintroduced, along with a new 500 peso coin, in 2012.

20 pesosSimon BolivarValue
50 pesosColombia coat of arms, and Republica de ColombiaValue
100 pesoColombia coat of arms, and Republica de ColombiaValue
200 pesosFigurine from the Quimbaya civilization (an ancient civilization in South AmericaValue
500 Pesos‘Guacari  tree’ in recognition of the efforts of the people of Guacari to safeguard the environmentValue

The Banco de la Republica printed 200 and 1000 oro notes and discontinued 1 and 2 peso oro notes in the 1970’s. 500 peso oro notes were introduced in 1986 and 100 peso oro notes in 1991 followed by 200 and 10 000 peso notes in 1992 as well as 500 peso notes in 1993. The name of the currency was changed from ‘peso oro’ to ‘peso’ in 1993 and 20 000 peso notes were introduced in 1996 with 50 000 peso notes following 4 years later in 2000.

1 000Jorge Eliecer Gaitan, a populist politician who was assassinated in the first half of the 20th century Jorge Eliecer Gaitan
2 000Francisco de Paula Santander – a colombian military and political leader who served as Prime Minister and was known as ‘The man of the Laws’ The door of the Casa de la moneda – a currency museum and former mint
5 000Jose Asuncion Silva  – a colombian poet from the late 19th century Nature and part of the famous poem Nocturnal
10 000Policarpa Salavarrieta – a heroine of Colombian independence The main plaza of Guaduas and birthplace of Policarpa Salavarrieta
20 000Julio Garavito Armero – a Colombian astronomerThe moon
50 000Jorge Isaacs a Colombian writer, soldier and politicianA paragraph from La Maria


For the last 5 years the Colombian peso has devalued greatly against the USD, falling from 0.0005 to 0.0003 since 2014.

1 USD is currently valued (10:30AM, Jan 15 2016) at 3287.0000 COP

COP USD dollar peso graph rate watch

1 USD to COP over the past 5 years (courtesy of Rate Watch)

1 CAD is currently valued (10:30AM, Jan 15 2016) at 2272.9151 COP

CAD COP dollar peso graph rate watch

1 CAD to COP over the past 5 years (courtesy of Rate Watch)


Colombia’s economy is the fourth largest in Latin America. 45% of the country’s exports come from petroleum but the manufacturing industry makes up a healthy 12% and is growing by 10% per year. In addition, the country has one of the fastest growing information technology sectors in the world as well as the longest fiber optic network in the region. Shipbuilding is another major industry alongside electronics, tourism and mining. The tourist industry in Colombia is growing by more than 10% a year and the country hopes to welcome 15 million tourists by 2023. A low Colombian peso will likely help to keep both tourism and export oriented manufacturing healthy and stable.

coins colombia peso pile metal money

Final Thoughts

The Colombian peso is weak against many Western countries, but it is backed by an expanding and diverse economy that will continue to enjoy growth and success in its key industries.

Whether you need to buy Colombian pesos or any other of over 160 different currencies, we’ve got you covered!

For a broader understanding of Colombian history and culture check out our Country of the Week profile. For information about traveling to Colombia then be sure to follow our Travel Guide.

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